(or message authentication code), a short piece of information used to authenticate a message, and the algorithm to create and check such information, using a secret key.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

195
votes
11answers
48k views

Should we MAC-then-encrypt or encrypt-then-MAC?

Most of the time, when some data must be encrypted, it must also be protected with a MAC, because encryption protects only against passive attackers. There are some nifty encryption modes which ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Attacks of the MAC construction $\mathcal{H}(m||k)$ for common hashes $\mathcal{H}$?

Consider a common practically-collision-resistant hash function $\mathcal{H}$ (e.g. SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-512, RIPEMD-160), perhaps based on the Merkle–Damgård construction as are the first three. We ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is plain-hash-then-encrypt not a secure MAC?

It seems that even in MAC-then-encrypt systems like SSL, something like HMAC is used rather than a plain hash. Why? Suppose we use some stream cipher; then why can't we use $Encrypt(m | H(m))$ as ...
32
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is H(k||x) not a secure MAC construction?

If H(m) is a secure hash function, can't we implement a MAC using H(k||m)? However, it seems the more widely used MACs, such as NMAC and HMAC (both originally defined in Keying hash functions for ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the encryption of a hash a good MAC?

At university we were told that it is a bad idea to implement a MAC by simply concatenating a key with the data to sign and to run it through a hash function (e.g. $s = \mathrm{hash}(k||\mathrm{data})$...
12
votes
2answers
649 views

Can I use HMAC-SHA1 in counter mode to make a stream cipher?

Say I have an embedded device which is only capable of doing HMAC-SHA1 transformations (that device is, in fact, a YubiKey). Would it be secure to feed it like a block cipher in counter mode to get a ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is h(m||k) insecure?

Here is the post that explains the failure for doing h(k||m) and I understand it. But I don't understand how h(m||k) is subjected to collison attack, or birthday attack. Please explain?
20
votes
3answers
1k views

Purpose of outer key in HMAC

From what I know, the HMAC constructions has two strength: It's resistant to length extensions Since the key is consumed before the message, the attacker does not know the initial state, preventing ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Is H(k||length||x) a secure MAC construction?

If $H$ is a typical secure hash function, then $(k,x) \mapsto H(k \mid\mid x)$ is not a secure MAC construction, because given a known plaintext $x_1$ and its MAC $m_1$, an attacker can extend $k \mid\...
7
votes
2answers
553 views

Is HMAC needed for a SHA-3 based MAC?

HMAC does nested hashing in order to prevent Length Extension Attacks. Given that you use the SHA-3 hash (which is resistant against length extension attacks), would you still need to go through that ...
7
votes
2answers
413 views

Why have hashes when you have MACs?

It would seem to a naive eye that if you have a MAC, you have a hash function: use a key that all the parties know (such as all-bits-zero). A potential application would be a resource-constrained ...
2
votes
2answers
373 views

Why is MAC using nonce+message+hash(nonce+message+identifier) not the standard?

Given that we know that nonce + message + hash(nonce + message + mac-key) all inside the encryption makes it possible to detect if any bits of the message have been ...
3
votes
1answer
291 views

Why are there no MACs inspired by block cipher modes other than CBC and CFB?

I've been studying message authentication codes and I was wondering why a MAC can only be produced with AES in CBC and CFB mode and why not the other modes such as ECB, OFB and counter. Why are CBC ...
3
votes
1answer
249 views

Non-cryptographic hash function as MAC for stream ciphers

I understand that for a stream cipher to be useful, there must be a way to verify that the message was not tampered with (bits were flipped by an attacker). So, instead of using some cryptographic ...
52
votes
1answer
26k views

What are the differences between a digital signature, a MAC and a hash?

A message may be accompanied with a digital signature, a MAC or a message hash, as a proof of some kind. Which assurances does each primitive provide to the recipient? What kind of keys are needed?
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Use cases for CMAC vs. HMAC?

Both can be used to verify the integrity of a message. Assuming you have the needed primitives available to you (i.e. the code space of needing both a cipher and a hash function isn't prohibitive), is ...
11
votes
2answers
510 views

Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
10
votes
1answer
228 views

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)?

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)? I understand it can work with HMAC, but it is fine as a one-pass MAC in the format above and resists length extension attacks. Is this ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How is digital signature different from a message authentication code (MAC)?

I know the definitions of both but can't specifically tell how they are different and if one is better than the other. Please help.
4
votes
2answers
289 views

Is there a companion algorithm for OTP to ensure integrity and/or authentication?

One-Time Padding is (theoretically) perfect encryption algorithm. Let's assume that these problems are solved: Fast generation of independent and identically distributed random variables Perfect key ...
3
votes
1answer
468 views

Should HMAC or NMAC or plain Keccak be used for a secure MAC?

After some digging around in the HMAC spec I found this (paraphrased): Step 1: If the length of Key equals the block size of the hash function (512 bits/64 Bytes for SHA-256), set the key equal ...
6
votes
1answer
780 views

Practical uses of Manipulation Detection Code (MDC) and IGE

I've just skimmed over most of the paper "On Message Integrity in Symmetric Encryption". I've included (the last) part of the abstract below: We show that generic compositions of confidentiality-...
5
votes
1answer
662 views

For a one-time pad, which MAC method is information-theoretically secure?

In the the main post about MAC methods it mentions a few methods: Authenticate And Encrypt: The sender computes a MAC of the plaintext, encrypts the plaintext, and then appends the MAC to the ...
1
vote
0answers
76 views

Confidentiality then Integrity with different keys

Can anyone describe how we can do what is said in the below sentence which is in Mark Stamp crypto slides (PPTX) on slide number 101 : Can do a little better - about 1.5 “encryptions” The whole ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Deriving HMAC key and cipher key from passphrase? [duplicate]

I'm encrypting a file with AES-256 in CBC mode. I needed to add an HMAC for authentication and validation of the file contents and passphrase, so I used a SHA-256 HMAC over chunks of my file ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the purpose of four different secrets shared by client and server in SSL/TLS?

I was looking through the working of SSL V3, and found that a connection state is defined by a set of things, including client write mac secret, server write mac secret, server write key, client ...
11
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the difference between MAC and HMAC?

In reference to this question, what are the "stronger security properties" that HMAC provides over MAC. I got that MAC requires an IV whereas HMAC doesn't. I also understood that MAC may reveal ...
13
votes
3answers
358 views

Why is Poly1305 popular given its 'sudden death' properties?

ECDSA has the undesirable property that if a key pair reuses a nonce in a signing operation, the cryptosystem experiences catastrophic failure in the form of private key leakage. I've heard this ...
7
votes
1answer
492 views

Why do we encrypt-then mac but sign-then-encrypt?

This question was asked in comments on my answer to should we sign then encrypt or encrypt then sign. I think posing the question as a separate entity is best, so: The general advice for applying ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

Is MAC better than digital signature?

MACs differ from digital signatures in the sense that MAC values are both generated and verified using a shares secret key. Does this in any way put MAC on a disadvantage as compared to digital ...
7
votes
2answers
358 views

Does there exist a proof-of-retrievability scheme that is publicly-verifiable, limited-use, and does not use homomorphic encryption?

I find myself wanting to test out a practical implementation of a proof-of-retrievability scheme, simply out of curiosity. These schemes seem to be divided into two variations, publicly-verified and ...
5
votes
3answers
652 views

Can I jettison MAC if I already have SHA1(M)?

I'm currently using SSL with AES-CBC and HMAC for a file transfer containing string M. Now suppose Alice already knows SHA1(M) (and the adversary does not), and she downloads M from Bob using only ...
17
votes
1answer
13k views

HMAC vs MAC functions

I've read definitions of MAC and HMAC, but can't say I've completely grasped the differences. What are principle differences? When to use one and when the other?(Typical Use Cases)
5
votes
2answers
368 views

Secure way to derive separate encryption and MAC keys from a single master key?

I want to derive a 256 bit encryption key and a 256 bit MAC key from a single 256 bit master key for an authenticated encryption scheme. I was considering the following construction to derive the two ...
11
votes
1answer
721 views

Cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function

I could not find any mention on the Internet of a proven/known cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function (ie rolling MAC). Has the question been studied, is it possible to build one ? By ...
11
votes
2answers
974 views

Can any MAC be used as a KDF?

First, let me clarify what I mean with a Key Derivation Function (KDF). I'm interested in KDFs that take an $n$-bit symmetric master key and some diversification data of arbitrary length as input and ...
5
votes
1answer
224 views

Proof that MACing a hash of the message is also a secure MAC

I found a theorem that says: Let $MAC = (S,V)$ be a MAC for short messages over $(K,M,T)$. Let $H: M^{big} → M$. Define $MAC^{big} = (S^{big},V^{big})$ over $(K,M^{big},T)$ as: $S^{big}(k,m) = S(k,H(...
5
votes
1answer
821 views

Why is H(message||secret_key) not vulnerable to length-extension attack?

Given a Merkle-Damgård hash function $H$, I know that an attacker can forge a message protected by a MAC computed as $H(\textrm{secret_key}||\textrm{message})$. Why can't he perform the same ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Do Carter–Wegman MACs allow key reuse if the MAC tag is kept secret?

Poly1305 (and GHASH) are secure authenticators, but only for one use. Thus, nonce reuse in Poly1305-AES, ChaCha20-Poly1305, and AES-GCM all reveal the authentication key. However, my understanding ...
4
votes
1answer
373 views

How safe is it to derive MAC key from a hashed password?

Imagine I have a blob that I want to encrypt-then-MAC. Now, what I can realistically ask my users for (out of UX considerations) is just an encryption password. Naturally, I bcrypt original password ...
3
votes
1answer
223 views

When is it safe to not use authenticated encryption?

I have read the post Why should I use Authenticated Encryption instead of just encryption? When is it safe to not use authenticated encryption? I assumed hard drive volume encryption or per file ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

Is a keyed PRF a MAC?

I remember I read that a MAC can be considered as a PRF. Can a variable-length input keyed-PRF be considered as a MAC?
1
vote
1answer
654 views

How do unkeyed hash functions (for MDCs) provide security?

Unkeyed hash functions are, by definition, hash functions computed without a key. SHA-1 is an example. MDCs (message digest codes) are a subclass of unkeyed hash functions. How are unkeyed hash ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

How would you encrypt-then-MAC when using pen-and-paper and a Caesar cipher?

I'll probably get shot for asking this, but I've got some kids (aged 8-10) in my neighbourhood that I've been showing/teaching the simple pen-and-paper Caesar cipher and they're successfully playing ...
7
votes
2answers
340 views

Is the HMAC construction really neccessary for a fixed length message?

The HMAC Construction is defined as: Hash( (Key XOR opad) || Hash((Key XOR ipad) || Message) ) This was designed because a simpler construction such as: ...
5
votes
1answer
271 views

HMAC construction based on the combination of two hash functions

I would like an $\operatorname{HMAC}$ that's based on two different hash functions ($H_1$ and $H_2$), so that a break of the combined $\operatorname{HMAC}$ would imply a break of $\operatorname{HMAC}(...
4
votes
1answer
595 views

Using a derived key for CMAC

Consider the following authenticate-and-encrypt scheme that uses AES-128 in CBC mode for encryption and AES-128 - based CMAC for authentication: Two keys are derived from the master key k (16 byte): ...
4
votes
1answer
187 views

Authenticate a short message with redundant encryption instead of using a MAC?

I have a short message that’s exactly 128 bits of length. The message serves as a time-limited authorization token for a database. It contains a permission profile ID (64 bits) and an issue timestamp (...
4
votes
1answer
199 views

Keyed digest function with odds of collision below the birthday bound?

I wonder if it is possible to devise a function $F(K,S,R_S)\mapsto D$ where: $K$ is some key (I have freedom on $K$, it could even be generated by a trusted party); $S$ is in $\{0,1\}^s$, say $s=32$;...
3
votes
2answers
393 views

Security issues of a MAC-then-Encrypt-then-MAC approach?

Encrypt-then-MAC does provide ciphertext integrity, but no plaintext integrity. With MAC-then-Encrypt it’s the other way around: Plaintext integrity but no ciphertext integrity. What comes to mind is ...